Thursday, June 18, 2009

Colonoscopy Week Live! - The Colonoscopy

The colonoscopy requires you to have a sedative injection. It is imperative that you arrange for a responsible person to escort you home, either in their car or by taxi, as you will not be allowed to drive or go on public transport.


Last Night.

After my nominated escort pulled out at the 11th hour, there was a last minute panic over who would come with me to the hospital. The letter from the hospital clearly states no escort, no colonoscopy. My girlfriend had already offered to come back from Germany for the day, but as I’m flying out to meet her in Munich tomorrow, it just seemed a pointless waste of money. My dad would have come down from the Midlands, but he has to cover for a colleague who is off sick. And at such short notice everyone else I could think of has other commitments. Desperately reading and rereading the hospital letter looking for some loophole in the rules, their use of the word ‘escort’ gave me an idea. Bingo! I could hire an escort girl to go with me. I was just wondering how much this would cost and where I could procure the services of such a girl, when I received a text from a former barmaid of a bar I used to go in. I haven’t seen her since before Christmas and she just wanted to know how I was keeping. Being in a bit of a tight spot, I took a punt and texted her back asking if she would be free to go to the hospital with me. Hookers, ex-barmaids, whatever; my life is anything but straightforward. She replied saying she’d get back to me in 20 minutes. She just had to sort a few things out. Promising. A little later she called with a plan. She would pick me up and take me to the hospital and then her mum or her best friend Nicola would take me home. Suddenly my hospital visit was descending into something akin to the evacuation of Dunkirk, where any old barge was commandeered into service. But instead of an old barge, I got an old barmaid, her mum and her mate. Not that I was complaining, without them there would be no colonoscopy.

This Morning.

At 8.30am sharp the former barmaid of a bar I used to go in and I dutifully reported to the Endoscopy Department at Whipps Cross Hospital. I filled out some forms and we were shown through to the preparation area. A nurse led us to Bed 2, where she told us to make ourselves comfortable. When the nurse had gone the former barmaid of a bar I used to go in whispered, “They think we’re a couple!” Before I could reply a doctor appeared and pulled the curtains around us, shaking our hands politely. He definitely had us down as Mr and Mrs. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the former barmaid of a bar I used to go in flash me a look. I pretended I hadn’t seen and listened intently to the doctor, nodding along with my head. All the while I sensed the ex-barmaid’s eyes boring into me. The doctor stood and told me to change into my gown. The former barmaid was on her feet in a shot, her hands raised, palms open as if to say ‘enough!’ And she disappeared through the curtain, muttering something under her breath. The doctor looked at me quizzically, and I just gave a shrug of the shoulders.

Lying on my side with my knees tucked up, I had a lovely view of the inside of my arse on the telly. If the mild sedative injection was having any effect I wasn’t really aware of it. All I could feel was a slight bloated sensation as the camera worked its way up my back passage. Guiding the camera was the Italian surgeon who operated on me earlier in the year. He knows my insides inside out, so I felt in safe hands. According to him there is still some mild inflammation in the rectum, but this wasn’t too unexpected. Next I flipped over onto my back and the camera went in through my stoma. I didn’t feel a thing, and it was much more comfortable than having it up the bum. This part of the procedure took about 25 minutes as the camera had to go right up and around my colon. It was like a rollercoaster ride but in extreme slow motion. During the return trip he took some biopsies with the mechanical grabber thing. On the TV it looked huge, like something used by astronauts to fix satellites, but in reality it’s extremely tiny. And all you feel is the faintest tug as it nips at the stomach lining. Again the doctor said there was very mild inflammation in some areas, but he still felt having a reversal was possible and that would be his recommendation. So all in all it was a successful mission.

Once dressed I was given a cup of coffee and 4 Rich Tea biscuits, which I scoffed in seconds. I then went out to the waiting area not quite sure who was going to be waiting for me. To my surprise it was the former barmaid of a bar I used to go in. She smiled and stood and we walked out together, making sure there was a good yard of space between us so everyone knew that we weren’t a couple. As the automatic door closed behind us, I turned to the ex-barmaid and said, “Thanks Lauren, I owe you a drink.”